I’ve written many times in this blog about the plight of being a Leafs fan. Part of that is having to listen to Habs fans (and there always seems to be too many of them around) talking about making the playoffs and being successful and stuff. Despite the intense rivalry between the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, I think there’s one things that fans of both teams can unite over: a deep-seeded hatred of the Boston Bruins. And when you hate a team, that generally means you dislike most of their players. That’s one reason I was a little heartbroken when Jarome Iginla signed in Boston last year, since I’m a big fan of his. Now that he’s playing in Colorado, I can go back to cheering for him.
There’s plenty of Bruins left for me to dislike, though. Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron are among the first names that pop to mind. At the top of the heap, however, is Milan Lucic. Were I a Bruins fan, I’d probably love these skilled dudes. However, since they’re usually shutting down and/or embarrassing my team, I want none of that.
Over the past few seasons, the Bruins have developed a reputation (at least within my circle of friends) as a dirty team who can get away with just about anything. That may or may not be the case, since obviously your perception depends on which team you’re cheering for (which in my case is whatever team Boston is playing against). Lucic has also been working on building a reputation as a bit of a dirty player. I mean, I get it. He’s a power forward, he plays hard… But sometimes he crosses the line.
Probably the most notable example of this (or at least the most talked about) was during the handshake line after the Canadiens eliminated the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals during last year’s playoffs. You know what I’m talking about.
So in the handshake line, Lucic had some extra words for Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin. In theory, these lines are supposed to be about congratulating your opponent on a hard-fought series. I can imagine that more often than not, there’s a little nastiness in these lines. According to Weise, Lucic told he and Emelin that he was going to “[expletive] kill them next year.” We wouldn’t know this if Weise hadn’t told the media about it directly after. Lucic probably shouldn’t have said what he did, but I’m guessing that given the circumstances these handshakes take place in, it’s probably a pretty common thing. If it is, we wouldn’t know it, because players don’t necessarily feel the need to share what was said. As such, that might reflect a bit badly on Weise. However, Lucic added a little fuel to the fire after the fact with this quote:
“I’m not the first guy to do it; I [won’t be] the last guy to do it. I’m not sorry that I did it. I’m a guy that plays on emotion, and this is a game of emotions. Sometimes you make decisions out of emotion that might not be the best ones. That’s what it is. I didn’t make the NHL because I accepted losing, or I accepted failure, and I think that’s what gotten me to this point and made me the player that I am.”
Now I’m not saying he should have apologized for feeling emotion and being angry that he just lost… But coming out and specifically saying “I’m not sorry” for something like that isn’t going to paint a picture of him as a decent person.
This opinion piece sums it up fairly well:
This is where honesty hurts Lucic. Should Lucic be sorry? No; he should be pissed. But he has to realize how bad he makes himself look when he pulls what he did in the handshake line, vents in front of all the cameras right after and appears every bit as angry two days later. Kudos to Lucic for being honest in response to a cowardly move by Weise, but he’d have been better off using Friday to convey the message that what he did – not what Weise did – wasn’t acceptable.
Now this whole thing was magnified by the fact that in the first round of the playoffs, Lucic had been fined $5,000 for spearing Detroit Red Wings defenceman Danny DeKeyser in the junk.
And that caused a bigger uproar than something like that normally would have, since Lucic had pulled something similar against Alexei Emelin just a month prior.
And if we go back a couple years to November 12, 2011, we can see Lucic run then-Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in this little tidbit of unsportsmanlike conduct.
Now I don’t particularly care for the Sabres, but seeing any goalie get run like that makes me angry. Unless you are also a goalie, you shouldn’t be taking a run at a goalie. That being said, goalie fights are probably about the best fights in hockey.
So now, with a little taste for Milan Lucic’s dirty tactics, it’s time for some payback.
On Friday night, the Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets were late in overtime when Lucic and Dalton Prout got into it behind the play. What happened next was excellent.
That .gif doesn’t really tell the whole story though. You need to watch the video to get the real feel for it.
What the video doesn’t show is Lucic giving one of the Blue Jackets a cross check before the scrap. You can see that Lucic still has at least one of his gloves on when he hits the ice, which might suggest he wasn’t ready. I think he was just being cowardly, because when Prout drops his gloves, Lucic clearly lunges toward him. After he’s back on his feet, with the linesmen trying to break them up, Lucic throws a punch which mostly hits the official. THEN, he throws his glove at Prout, but the glove also hits the offical! According to NHL rules, both of those actions are deserving of an automatic 3-game suspension.
From the NHL rule book:
40.4 Automatic Suspension – Category III – Any player who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official, shooting the puck at or in the general direction of an official, spitting at or in the general direction of an official, or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.
Now obviously it’s a little biased, since it’s a Habs fan blog, but this post explains the reasoning why Lucic should be suspended for abuse of an official. Lucic hasn’t been suspended yet (which means he probably won’t be), but that’s okay. Seeing him get one-punched was satisfying enough for this hockey fan.